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Managing Soil-Borne Pests, Diseases

For potato farmers, soil-borne pests and diseases are like that pesky younger sibling that’s always trying to get you in trouble: ignore them at your peril. Hazards such as Verticillium, nematodes, pink rot and Rhizoctonia can have a big impact on the bottom line if not kept in check. For this edition of Roundtable, Spud Smart sought input from three industry experts on the financial importance of these potato problems, and best…

Potato pest worries farmers in Australia

Potato producers in southwest Western Australia say the detection of the tomato potato psyllid is a “serious blow” to their industry. The psyllid is known to attack a range of plants in the Solanaceae family, including potato and also sweet potato. It is the first time the pest has been detected in Australia. It has so far been detected in tomatoes and eggplants in Perth, in tomatoes at two properties in Mount…

Idaho potato industry makes progress against diseases

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — The head of Idaho’s potato seed certification program says growers appear to have made progress in controlling bacterial ring rot challenges, and their potato virus Y infection rates seem to have flattened. Alan Westra, area manager of the Idaho Crop Improvement Association, based his observations on early numbers from ongoing seed certification testing. In 2014 — following a ring rot flare-up — Idaho implemented rules governing the devastating…

Select potato growers trying soil fumigation for McCain Foods

CARIBOU, Maine — The largest buyer of potatoes in Aroostook County, McCain Foods, has started trials examining soil fumigation with several of its growers. More common in western states, fumigating soil to fight nematodes and soil-borne diseases is “not something we’ve done in Maine,” Erica Fitzpatrick Peabody, an agronomist with McCain Foods, said during the Maine Potato Conference in Caribou in January. In an effort to boost yields with its contract growers…

U.S. Researchers program drone to hunt PVY in potatoes

U.S. researchers say they’ve pinpointed individual spud plants infected with potato virus Y with 90 per cent accuracy, using hyperspectral cameras mounted on drones. Donna Delparte, an assistant professor of geosciences at Idaho State University, and graduate student Mike Griffel have successfully tested a “computer-learning” algorithm they developed to tease out PVY from spectral imaging “background noise,” such as field variability and unrelated crop stress. “Our premise was to look at all…

Aprovia label expanded to include major potato diseases

Syngenta Canada Inc. has announced the expansion of the Aprovia fungicide label to include additional soil-borne diseases affecting potato production, including Verticillium wilt, one of the main contributors to potato early dying. Potato early dying is a complex and economically significant disease that is widespread across many growing areas, but difficult to identify and effectively manage. Verticillium enters plants through the roots and move into the xylem – the plant’s water and…

A tuber-damaging strain of alfalfa mosaic virus

When alfalfa mosaic virus (AMV) happens to occur in potatoes, it usually causes leaf mottling and blotching. Now, researchers have identified an unusual strain that causes necrosis – brownish dead patches – in tubers, the first such AMV strain found in Canada. The story of how this tuber-necrosis culprit was identified is a little like something from CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. The infected tubers were discovered in 2012 during routine sampling in…

Potato Growers Get Help to Fight with Late Blight Pathogen

The Plant Management Network (PMN) has released a new presentation entitled “Late Blight Management Under Semi-Arid Conditions” to help potato growers recognize pathogen hosts, favourable disease conditions, and utilize effective control practices. Late blight of potato can spread very quickly and has the potential to be extremely destructive if managed improperly, says Jeff Miller, president and CEO of Miller Research. The webcast, developed by Miller, outlines effective control practices and stresses the…

Using smartphones to battle pests

A new app has been designed to help growers of field crops identify and manage insects, pathogens and weeds. And there is potential for other crops to be included once work on the current setup is complete. Set to be officially released in 2018 on Android and iOS, the Mobile Integrated Pest Management (Mobile-IPM) app is a tool for Canadian farmers. It focuses on the major Canadian crops such as oilseeds, cereals…

Two Potato Fungicides to Keep in Mind in 2017

Although harvest of the late maturing crop in Ontario has not started yet, it is never too early to start thinking about disease management in 2017. Two fungicides to keep in mind in 2017 are Quash for early blight, and Revus as a seed treatment for late blight. Quash: Early blight is a common fungal disease that develops each year regardless of the weather. Crop stress favours the development of early blight….

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